D800E: new Af fine-tune needed after latest firmware

Started May 26, 2014 | Discussions thread
onasj Forum Member • Posts: 91
Some AF fine tune findings from my experiences

I'm a "fine tuner" and have had success using FoCal.  The results generally match those of Lens Align II and real-world shooting for me.

There are many factors that can contribute to a varying FoCal (or lens align, etc) result.  I suspect one of those may be causing the OP's observed change in AFFT settings.  One of the biggest culprits is subject distance.  Especially near the short end of the subject distance range, I find AFFT values to be quite different than the rest of the distance range for many lenses.  Another is zoom length.  Both factors can strongly affect the optimal AFFT setting for a given lens.  Since Nikon doesn't offer different AFFT settings for different zoom ranges or subject distances (even though Sigma's USB Dock does offer the latter for their new lenses), setting any AFFT setting on a (non-Sigma) lens necessarily involves compromise.

On the bright side, Nikon bodies with AFFT do allow teleconverter-specific settings, so you can set a different setting for a 300/2.8 vs 300/2.8+TC1.4.  Which is crucial because the current set of all three nikon teleconverters can STRONGLY change optimal AFFT values.  So much so that I wonder if some of the combinations reputed to be soft (such as 70-200/2.8VRII+tc2.0@f/5.6) may have earned those reputations in part because the AFFT changes so dramatically.  For me, my 70-200VRII  needed almost no AFFT when directly mounted on my D800e (+1) but needs -20 (!) when combined with the TC2.0eiii.

I recommend calibrating AFFT values at subject (test chart) distances and zoom ranges that you use most frequently.  That's the best you can do.  Fortunately most Nikkors do not require very strong AFFT correction and therefore the differences at typical apertures are minimal.  If you are shooting at f/1.4 or 2.0 with a very sharp lens, however, AFFT can absolutely make a visible difference in the sharpness of your photos even at 50% or less viewing size.  (That last comment is in honor of Leonard

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